We Were Born Here, What’s Your Excuse?

At 20 years old, I recently moved out of Winnipeg and relocated to the next province. After reading an article by Thought Catalog about people who stay in their hometown but are miserable there, it made me re-examine why I decided to move to Hamilton, Ontario.

Living in Winnipeg, Manitoba just didn’t work for me. I wasn’t even born there, since we moved there when I was 9 from the province next to it. It wasn’t my hometown, it was just the place I lived because I had to, and was making it work. There were a lot of good things about Winnipeg for me, though. I had friends who I had survived high school with. I loved my job. I was in university. And yet, I was miserable. I hated living at home, and was sick of going to that university, taking courses I was being pushed into, feeling like my parents were running my life even though I am now an adult.

When you decide to leave your parents’ house, there is a big decision to be made. You need to decide if you will stay in this city, or find a new one to inhabit. Staying is easier, but for some people it isn’t a big enough change. I found it impossible to justify moving out and staying in the city, when I could be in my parents’ house for free. There just wasn’t enough to hold me there, so I began to look elsewhere.

One of the weirdest things about leaving is seeing the pictures of people I used to go to high school with who are still in the same group of friends, still dating the same person. For them, it looks like nothing has changed. They look happy in the pictures. They don’t look like the people who feel a need to get away from where they grew up.

In that previously stated article, Fagan eloquently puts into words the attitude I was never able to express about my decision to come here. She said, “A move is never a guarantee of a better life, but it is a guarantee of doing something you actually want to do, even if it means taking a chance.”

I will admit that when I moved, I did so with a lot of factors working in my favour, and I know that this isn’t the case for everybody. I had already transferred my job to the new city. I knew someone who would let me rent a room in his house for cheap. I had been working all summer long, and had the money to survive for a while, even if I didn’t get to work as much as I hoped to.

A friend of mine moved out of her house when she was 16 because her mom was emotionally abusive. I remember her being poor all the time, and one time we got a free dinner at work and she exclaimed, “I get to eat today?!?” She is a very brave girl, and has found a way to make ends meet. I remember when she was living off of ramen noodles because she couldn’t afford anything else. She once said to me, “If you really hate living at home, just get out. It won’t be easy, but you’ll find a way to survive, and eventually things get easier.” Looking at her then, I found that a silly thing to say.

Now, though, I understand what she meant. I don’t have the money to eat like I did at home. I can’t pay for a bigger apartment, or a room that doesn’t have centipedes. Even tougher, I’m at a new university and I don’t have many friends here.

And yet, I’m alive. That’s got to count for something.

Over Christmas I went back to my old workplace, and people were asking me if I would be coming back once I finish my degree. The truth is, I don’t know. I think if I went back to Winnipeg it would be tough to readjust now that I have left.

If you feel a pull trying to take you somewhere else, maybe it is time you took a look around and made a conscious decision to do what’s right for you. There is no way to tell if it will be better, but as you grow up you might decide that that’s a risk worth taking.


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About janinerussell

The transition to adulthood; reflecting on the past to create a better future.

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